Pike River fine “shockingly low” – EPMU

Flames coming out of a ventilation shaft at Pike River

An Australian contractor that lost three staff members in the Pike River Mine explosion two years ago has been fined $46,800 in the Greymouth District Court after admitting three breaches of the Health and Safety Act. The union representing miners says the figure is too low.

“The EPMU shares the concerns of the Pike River families over the low level of the fine. This sends the wrong message to companies looking to cut corners on health and safety and is particularly concerning given the loss of life at the mine.” Said EPMU Director of Organising Alan Clarence.

“The Government needs to ensure this kind of employment practice is not allowed again. It can do this by introducing worker-elected check inspectors to ensure safety checks are being done, and by strengthening the law to ensure companies cannot contract out of their health and safety
responsibilities.”

VLI, a subsidiary of Sydney-based Valley Longwall International had been facing a potential fine of up to $750,000. They had employed explosion victims Josh Ufer, 25, Ben Rockhouse, 21, and Joseph Dunbar, 17.

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